There is one trait that if a salesperson does not have I will not hire under any circumstances, no exceptions. I say the same thing to my clients, do not hire salespeople who don’t have this skill.
If a salesperson is not coachable – do not hire them. Why is sales coachability so important? Listen our jobs are not static, the work we do every day requires somebody flexible and somebody that can change. They have to be coachable, they have to be open to feedback, they have to be willing to listen to feedback, and they have to be willing to apply the feedback when they get it. If not they are going to be nothing but a problem for you.
They may do well out of the gate and that’s great but the minute they’re not doing well, the minute something comes up, the minute there’s a problem, and you try to coach them the red flags start popping up. They’re defensive, argumentative, they don’t want to hear it, they don’t absorb it, or they’re incapable of absorbing it and applying, and now you’ve got a problem.
Do not hire people who are uncoachable. The sad reality is that there are way too many uncoachable people in our profession and in the world. Too many people stuck in their old ways who don’t want to hear it from somebody else. They look at coaching as an attack and that’s sad because true coaching is a gift.
I pay for coaching every summer to get better at skiing, I live for coaching. When someone is willing to give you feedback to make you better and you can’t accept that – you’re the one losing.
So, whatever you do, sales leaders, sales managers, sales executives do not hire anybody who is uncoachable. Look for ways to find out how coachable they are. Give feedback in the interview process. If the candidate is defensive, argumentative, if they start pushing back, or if someone just doesn’t want to hear it – politely move along.
Same thing goes to people inside your organization. If you have people inside your organization who are uncoachable figure out a way to get them out. Uncoachable people are not “A” players period.
Here’s the last thing I want to add to this. Sales Coachability, like learning, is not a destination, it’s not finite. Yes, there may be something you’re working on and a goals that you can achieve through learning and coaching. But the truth of the matter is coachability is infinite. You can always get better.
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You should always be looking to get better and therefore coaching someone to get better no matter how good they are is something that can always happen. Tom brady is coached every freaking week and they argue he’s the best of all time. Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn, all these people are coached every day to get better.
Sales coachability is no different, to be the best you need to be constantly looking to improve.
If someone approaches coaching or learning with an attitude that screams “I’ve been doing this for years, I don’t need coaching” that’s a problem. There’s a lot of skills and traits that you want to identify in your salespeople or potential hires, but the number one skill and trait that a salesperson must have is the ability to be coached. By the way, sales leaders, that goes for you as well. You need to be just as coachable. So go find coachable people.
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